Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wide Awake Drunk: Dangers of Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks on Teens

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Source: Kids Health
Every year there seems to be a new trend that becomes insanely popular among teens and this year does not disappoint!  Currently, teens are drawn to the idea of combining alcohol with caffeine or other stimulants to reach that ultimate feeling of intoxication.   Since energy drinks were introduced to the public, they have become a staple in the daily diet of many teens.  The Alabama Parent Network reports that thirty one percent of teens ages 12-17 years old consume energy drinks on a regular basis. Unfortunately, energy drinks are not a substitute for your average soda.  In fact, a typical soda has 60 ml of caffeine while energy drinks have around 160 ml of caffeine. Combining an energy drink with alcohol is like consuming a bottle of wine with several cups of coffee (by the way, coffee contains at least 100 ml of caffeine)! Pediatricians report that consuming over 100 ml caffeine is dangerous for the average teen and adding chocolate, sodas, or medication can be deadly.  In a news article written by CBS corespondent, Maria Castillo, she interviewed a child psychologist who found that messages about caffeine often start at home and are hard to break.  As teens get older, they take the messages they learn about caffeine and mix it with alcohol to create a lethal concoction called a Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages or CABs.

Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages

Source: Daily Mail
According to the CDC,  Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages or CABs are "premixed beverages that combine alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants."   Although CABs are no longer available on the market in the US, since they were found unsafe by the FDA, many teens have discovered that mixing alcohol and caffeinated drinks are an effective way to reach euphoria. One alcoholic mixture that has become popular at parties is the combination of Red Bull energy drink and vodka.  Since prom is around the corner, teens risk being exposed to this alcoholic combination and face additional dangers.  Check out the graphic below of some of the potential dangers that teens face when drinking CABs.

Dangers of CABs
Why are CABs Dangerous?

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, teens who consume CABs are four times more likely to develop a alcohol disorder than teens who consume alcohol not mixed with caffeine. Since high doses of caffeine mask the brain's ability to know when the body reaches intoxication, teens tend to drink more and reach dangerous levels of intoxication quicker.  Because many teens are unaware that they are intoxicated, they feel wide awake drunk.  Another danger of these alcoholic energy drinks is that it causes the person to want to drink more which can lead to alcohol poisoning. Also, cardiologists have found that large amounts of caffeine can cause an erratic heartbeat and even a heart attack.  So mixing a combination of uppers and downers can be dangerous for teens whether it includes serious injury, illness, or death.  I think the quote by the author of the article, Teens Who Mix Alcohol and Energy Drinks May be More Likely to Develop Alcohol Use Disorders, summed it up best,"maybe Red Bull gives you wings...but you don't want them to end up giving you a halo too."

Why Should School Counselors Be Concerned About Underage Drinking?

There are several reasons why school counselors should be aware of the risks around underage drinking.  Here are a few statistics you need to know:

1.  Underage drinking contributes to poor grades and absenteeism in school.
2.  Students who drink are more likely to engage in fighting.
3.  Underage drinking contributes to legal issues for students.
4.  Students who drink are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors.
5.  Students who drink are at risk for sexual assault.
6.  Students who drink are at a higher risk for suicide.
7.  Underage drinking contributes to alcohol poisoning and possible death.

What are Some Practical Ways to Educate Students?

We may have limited influence when teens are already drinking, but we can educate them about the practical dangers of combining alcohol and caffeine and what do when they are faced with a possible dangerous situation. Below are some strategies/information you may want to share with your students around prom season.

1. How do you know if you are becoming a problem drinker?  Give kids the link to the alcohol self test to find out if they are binge drinkers.

    Alcohol Self Test for Teens - Teens have a question about their consumption?  Have them take this self test to find out if their consumption is abusive.
     
2. How does alcohol impact the body?  Here is information to show the virtual impacts of alcohol on the body and brain.
         
          Alcohol and the body - Show teens virtually how alcohol impacts the body and brain.


3. Educate students on a blackout and how they can identify a friend who may be experiencing one at a party or on the beach.

          Blackouts - Dr. Donal Sweeney says that blackouts are unpredictable, can occur in first  
          time drinkers, may last for hours, and takes little alcohol to occur.  In fact, a person
          experiencing an alcoholic blackout may seem normal (walking, talking, or standing).
         The problem, according to Dr. Sweeney, is that alcohol prevents the formation of memories
          and leaves the person "unconscious". Also, Dr. Sweeney found in his research that females are
          most susceptible to blackouts.

Blackout Quiz- How do you know if a person is experiencing a blackout?  There is a simple test you can give to find out...
  • First, ask the person to tell you three simple words and have him or her repeat them. 
  • Next, distract the person by talking about something else for five minutes. 
  • Last, ask the person the same words again.  If he or she cannot remember, the person may be experiencing a blackout.
4. Share the BAC (Blood Alcohol Calculator) to show them their alcoholic limit.

          Blood Alcohol Calculator - Inform students who their blood alcohol level is determined by
          their physiology and gender.

5. Show students what drinks contain the most and least amount of alcohol.

         Cocktail Calculator - Before consuming a drink, calculate how much alcohol is in that drink.

6. Talk to students about the dangers of alcohol poisoning and what to do if they suspect someone is experiencing it.

        What is alcohol poisoning? Alcohol poisoning occurs when high levels of alcohol suppress the
         respiratory and nervous system so the body tries to rid itself of those toxins.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:
  • Mental confusion, stupor, or coma.
  • Vomiting
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Low body temperature


If the student suspects someone has alcohol poisoning, he or she should act immediately and not wait until the signs appear.  There are five steps one may follow:
1.  Don't assume the person is asleep and try to wake him or her up by calling out his/her name, pulling his/her ear or cheek, or pinching the arm.
2.  Turn the person on his/her side to prevent asphyxiation from vomiting.
3.  Check out the skin color and temperature of the person.  If they appear blue, pale,  clammy, or cold, call 911 immediately!!
4.  If the person's breathing is irregular or slow (less than 10 breaths a minute), call 911!
5.  Even if the person is not showing any distinct signs, don't guess and call 911.
Source: Blackouts and Alcohol Poisoning

7. Don't be afraid to call 911!  Although not every state has this law on its books, many states will not arrest underage minors for calling emergency services if they have a friend who is facing a medical emergency.  

States That Allow for Emergency Services to Assist Underage Minors Without Legal Action

8. If a student decides he or she does not want to drink, but will be in a high pressured situation then they to practice refusal. Below are two tools you can use to help students build up their confidence to resist the temptation to drink.

             Build Drink Refusal Skills  - Help students build their ability to refuse alcohol due to peer
             pressure.

Learn How to Say When
Drink Refusal Skill Tool
Script Your No Worksheet

9, Educate yourself as a professional about alcohol so you are up to date on the latest information!

           Power of Drinking Toolkit for Educators

10. Educate your parents about how to help their students celebrate graduation  and summer party safely.

           Power of Youth Toolkit

11. Educate parents and students about the myths of changing the drinking age to 18 in your state.

          Support 21

Resources

I hope this post has been eye opening about the dangers of alcohol and caffeine.  For more information about teens and alcohol check out these other posts.


Extreme Binge Drinking



The New Prom Culture


Thursday, March 24, 2016

12 Practical Tips for Dealing With Changelling Parents

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Last week I had the honor of presenting at the Georgia School Counseling Association Region Four Meeting in Athens, Ga.  In a survey of school counselors across our region, a large number of them ranked dealing with difficult and high conflict parents as one of their top concerns.  In my presentation, I wanted to offer some practical tips for school counselors to take back to their schools.  In this post, I wanted to share the 12 practical tips that I gave my colleagues during that presentation and I hope you find them helpful too!






One method of  educating parents is to create a brochure to distribute at the beginning of the school year.  







Resources

Dealing With Angry Parents 

One Stop Counseling Shop: Tricks and Tips for Dealing With Difficult Parents

Train Your Secretary to Deal With Difficult Parents 

Seven Solutions for Working with Parents 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Enemy Within: Killjoys in Your Department

Saturday, March 19, 2016

When I decided to write this post, I really struggled on how I would present this information to my high school counseling audience.  Would it be viewed as an attack on school counseling departments? Would someone reading this assume that I was talking about them?  Would I get a lot of negative comments from counselors who never experienced internal strife?  Well, I am taking my chances because I bet there are other school counselors who may feel isolated, unsupported, and even attacked by their colleagues in their own departments.

During my seventeen years as a school counselor, I have been involved with a wide variety of school counseling departments.  I have been the only counselor, one of many, part of a duo, and now I am back to being alone. Although the majority of my experiences have been positive and encouraged my growth, there have been challenges along the way. Though I will not give specific circumstances from my career, out of respect for my colleagues, I am going to give scenarios that mirror challenges counselors may face internally.  The following scenarios reflect experiences of real school counselors who felt unsupported in their departments and eventually decided to leave.  Although these scenarios are fictitious, they contain some of the narratives I have heard over the years.

School Counselor Narratives

 



Molly recently graduated with her masters in counseling and finally, after many months of searching, landed a job as the second counselor at a great school that was known for its copious academic awards. During the interview, she felt lots of positive support from the administration and was happy she was chosen out of the 50 applicants who applied for the job.  Not only did she feel accepted by the administration, but she would be working with an experienced counselor who she looked forward to learning from during the year. At the beginning of her school year things went well.  She was learning the culture, meeting the kids, and getting to know the staff.  Her new mentor took her under his wing and taught her about auditing transcripts, advisement procedures, and scheduling classroom guidance.  Yes, things were running smoothly and Molly felt it was time to spread her wings and try to take initiative to create some programs of her own.  Excited about her ideas, Molly went to her partner and told him her ideas.  Surprisingly, she did not meet the enthusiasm and support she expected.  In fact, she received the opposite reaction.  The counselor said, "I don't think we are ready to do something as challenging as this right now.  You are still new and I don't have time to be part of this venture." Being new, Molly did not have the courage to challenge his decision; therefore, she dropped the idea.  As time passed, all Molly's ideas were repeatedly discouraged and she grew increasingly frustrated.  Then, one day, a teacher she had been having lunch shared a secret with her.  "You know", she said, "the counselor who was here before you was a lot like you. She had a lot of great ideas, she was energetic, and she was great with the kids.  Your colleague in there shot down everything she wanted to do and after so many years of putting up with him she just got tired of it.  In fact, that is why she left.  Don't let him suck the life out of you too." With this new knowledge, Molly was determined she was going to move forward on her ideas.  Again, she went to her colleague and pleaded her case.  This time she was met indignation.  "I told you that I am in charge and if you don't like it you don't have to be here anymore. This is the end of discussion...do I make myself clear!"  Now feeling defeated, Molly left his office and began to cry.  After that meeting, she knew she was on her own.  The two of them began to function as separate entities and she made the decision to find another position.



Charles was a teacher who earned his counseling degree later in life.  After five years of waiting for an opening in his school, he finally landed a position as counselor.  Charles was excited to work with the counselors as they seemed to get along and work well with each other.  After Charles became part of the team, the lead counselor's wife was transferred to another state and he left at the beginning of the year.  With his departure, another counselor, who had been there for years, took over as lead counselor.  At first, the new lead counselor was supportive and pretty much gave Charles space to do his job.  Six months into the new year, the lead counselor started to make demands on the counselors that caused some issues.  First, all the counselors had to use the same forms (even if they were they not convenient or understandable); second all counselors had to have the same schedule (which she made); third she controlled who came in the office and how long they could stay.  Charles had a student who frequently came into his office to talk about his issues at home.  This particular day, the lead counselor knocked on the door and interrupted the session.  "Excuse me young woman,  I need for you to leave so I can talk to your counselor." The surprised student looked at Charles, but Charles calmly looked at her and said that she needed to go because there may be a situation he needed to attend to at that moment.  After the student left, the lead counselor told Charles that he needed to set up boundaries with this student and teach her how to stand on her.  Before Charles could defend himself, the counselor made a statement that made his face flushed.  "Charles, I don't want to be accusatory, but a lot of people are talking about this student coming to your office and that it doesn't reflect well on our department.  "At that point Charles was upset and asked what was the insinuation behind that comment.  "I can't say Charles, but you need to think about the length of time that you allow students in your office." At the end of the day, Charles called his former supervisor to vent about what happened at work that day.  Following his conversation with the lead counselor, he had to make a decision to stay at a job he loved or leave.



Monique was one of four counselors in a really demanding high school counseling office.  The office was so busy that some days she was unable to eat lunch and she often worked over to catch up on her paperwork.  The first year, she was so busy that she really didn't pay attention to the other counselors and their workload.  During her second year, she decided she was going to make time to eat lunch and talk with the other counselors.  It was during the counseling lunches that she asked the other counselors how they managed their time.  Two of the counselors confided in her that the other counselor didn't have any problem managing her schedule as they had experienced her working on projects for other initiatives, leaving the building during the day to go home, and even planning her wedding. With her new found knowledge, Monique decided she would try to be more aware of her surroundings and began to explore if this scenario was true.  Over the next couple of months, she noticed that her colleague had a different schedule than everyone else.  In her third year as counselor, Monique and her two colleagues began to notice that when the kids were looking for their colleague she was rarely available.  Eventually, Monique was not only seeing her caseload, but her colleague's caseload. To make matters worse, when a student was seen leaving her office by her colleague her coworker would catch an attitude.  "Why is my student in your office?  They need to make an appointment to see me before they decide to see someone else."  Feeling overworked and helpless, Monique decided to go to the administration to discuss her concerns.  Because the counselor had been there for so many years, the administration felt there was nothing they could do to change her ways.  Disappointed by the lack of support, Monique decided it may be time to leave the next year and start over.



Marcus, Pamela, and Gladys were all hired the same year to join the counseling staff at a distinguished high school.   When they joined the staff, they discovered that the majority of office staff members had been at the school since its inception.  One person who had been there the longest was the counseling administrative assistant.  Although she had a lot of knowledge, she was very protective of her territory and anyone who tried to change her structure.  Each day the administrator and her friends had lunch together for two hours, hoarded the supplies, and controlled the flow of the traffic.  Marcus, Pamela, and Gladys quickly realized how much control was in the administrative assistant's control.  If someone wanted something in their office, the secretary had to approve the order; if someone wanted to something in the suite changed, she would have the final say; and if they wanted to order materials,  she controlled all the money.  Then there was the tension in the office between the counseling administrative assistant and the career counseling assistant.  The career counseling assistant would often cry and pick up to go home at least once a week. The straw that broke the camel's back for the Marcus was when he heard the counseling secretary speaking negatively about him openly in the office to a student.  Apparently, the secretary told the student that Marcus was incompetent and he should see another counselor. After the student left, Marcus confronted the secretary.  The secretary sat quietly and did not respond to his accusation.   Several weeks later, he noticed that the secretary began to ignore his requests, was curt in her remarks toward him, and made efforts to avoid him.  The rest of the year was frustrating for Marcus and he had to make a decision of whether to stay or transfer schools.

How to Deal with Unsupportive Co-workers

 

If you are in a work environment with an unsupportive co-worker, there are some strategies you can employ. Diane McLain Smith says that when someone frustrates us professionally that we have reached our level of competence. Our frustration is due to our inability to handle our feelings about our coworker and we should use these opportunities as professional development. People who irritate us usually show us things in ourselves that we do not like.  It is like holding a mirror in front of our face and showing us our imperfections.

 So, how do we survive situations in which we find ourselves facing uncooperative colleagues?  According to Lolly Daskal, there are some strategies we can use to help us with difficult colleagues.

1.  Probably the hardest step is to fully accept what is happening in your workplace and wishing it would disappear. In fact, you may be your difficult person's difficult person.
2.  Accept that future problems will arise and begin to prepare for those situations.
3.  Find something positive in that person to acknowledge.  Sometimes we have to look at our own negative characteristics and hangups as we often dislike those characteristics in others.
4.  If negative situations continue to exist, make efforts to limit contact with that person.
5.  If following steps 1-4 becomes difficult and if you find that are you stressed at work, you may consider leaving and going to another job site.

However if you decide you want to stay at your job, you may want to confront your colleague. Here are some tips you can follow:

1.  Start the conversation by telling the person that you value your relationship and you would like to address some concerns that seem to be impacting your working relationship.
2.  Separate the person from the behavior.
3.  Cite specific examples of what is bothering you.
4.  Tell the person what you would like to change in the relationship.
5.  Request feedback from your colleague s soon as possible. For example you can ask, "Have you experienced the same feelings?"
6.  Pay attention to your colleague's tone of voice and non-verbal communication.

Dealing with an unpleasant work environment is often difficult and draining.  If you are in a difficult work environment, consider trying some of these suggestions.  Also, remember that just because we are student support staff doesn't mean we always support each other.  If you are in a great counseling department, count your blessings!  Unfortunately, not all of our colleagues are so lucky.



Sunday, March 13, 2016

April Awareness Events for School Counselors, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016



Spring is almost here and with it comes a plethora of social awareness events for teens.  Although school is getting close to being over (can I get an amen) and summer is around the corner, I am sure you will agree that April awareness of these social issues can make May, June, and July safer for students.  Here are the events for April and some ideas. 

Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month Website

Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has sponsored Alcohol Awareness month.  This year's theme is centered around youth and the slogan is called "Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use".  Check out the resources below and my post on teen alcohol abuse.
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf

Articles
How Kids Smuggle Booze Under Your Nose
 
Assessment
Self Test for Teens

Facts 
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Alcohol Facts
  • Teens who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than those who started drinking at the age of 21.  Delaying consumption of alcohol can make a significant impact on alcohol dependence.
  • Out of teens surveyed in 2006, 7.2 million reported binge drinking and 2.4 million reported being heavy drinkers. Binge drinking (National Institute of Alcohol and Addition) is defined by drinking five or more drinks in a two hour period. In the blog post, Kids Don't Need to Practice Drinking for College, the author tackles the belief by parents that kids have to practice drinking for college.  Binge drinking does not start in college; however, it intensifies when parental boundaries are removed.
  • When teens drink, they tend to consume alcohol more intensely than adults. For example, teens will consume at least four to five drinks at one time (whoa!) compared to adults who tend to consume four to five within 2 hours when binge drinking.
  • Although teen drinking has decreased in recent years, binge drinking has increased among adolescents. In fact, teens are engaging in extreme binging or drinking up to ten or more drinks in a row. 
  •  Alcohol can cause alterations to the brain structure and function which may have effects into adulthood. An ABC News Report on Girl Binge Drinking describes the dangers of binge drinking on the female brain. Researchers found that girls who drink alcohol have more chances of experiencing brain damage than male teens.
- See more at: http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/2015/03/extreme-teen-binge-drinking.html#sthash.ABQOgeeG.dpuf
Facts About Alcohol
Alcohol Energy Drinks
Binge Drinking Fact Sheets
Effects of Alcohol

Free Activities
Drug Free Activities
Free Alcoholic Booklet

Spring Break and the Dangers of Alcohol 
Spring Breaks Biggest Danger: Binge Drinking
Spring Break Safety Tips

Want to know more?  See my posts on teens and alcohol abuse. 

Purple Drank: Guide for School Counselors 











 Extreme Teen Binge Drinking













Day of Silence

April 15, 2016

Official website for Day of Silence.


The Day of Silence (DOS) is a student led event to stand against bullying and harassment for LQBTQ students in schools.  The first event was held at the University in VA in 1996.  

The key for participation for students is to communicate with teachers ahead of time and let them know they will communicate in writing. 

Facts About the Day of Silence
Day of Silence Poster
Day of Silence Ideas
DOS Pledge
Tips When Facing Opposition from Administration
Speaking Cards

Safe Prom and Graduation Awareness

SADD Prom/Graduation Activities

Some Ideas Before Prom Night...

  • Have elementary students write notes to high school students reminding them not to drink and drive on prom night.


  • Have flower shops hang a sign in their window asking students to stay sober.

Safe Prom Events


Safe and Sober Prom
Post Prom
After Prom

Tips:
Safety Tips for the CDC


Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Resources

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Sexual Assault Awareness Toolkit
Safer Campus
What is Campus Sexual Violence?
Becoming an Agent of Social Change-Youth Guide
Stopping Harassment at School
What is Healthy Sexuality and Consent?
Preventing Acquaintance Rape-Guide for Teens
Surviving Acquaintance Rape

Circle of 6 Phone App - Although developed for college students, think about adapting the Circle of 6 App for your high school students.  Great idea for teens to have before Spring Break and/or prom.  The phone app allows a teen to text your friends in the case of emergency and asks them to come and get him or her.

See my blog on tips for the school counselor and sexual assault. 













Youth Violence Awareness 

April 4-8, 2016 

Each year, Students Against Violence Everywhere sponsors a Youth Violence Awareness Week.  This year's events include:

April 4th- Promote Tolerance and Respect
April 5th- Manage Your Anger
April 6th- Solve Conflicts
April 7th- Support Safety
April 8th- Unite in Action

Youth Violence Training by Stryve

The three modules cover the following information:

1.  Understanding Youth Violence
2.  The Public Health Approach
3.  Creating Your Youth Violence Plan

Preventing Youth Violence Opportunities for Action
Staring a Peace Club
SAVE: Youth Violence Awareness Activities  

Action Plan 

SAVE Action Plan 

Bullying

10 Ways To Be an Upstander
International Bullying Prevention Association -Free resources
Free bullying course from Bullying.org
National Bullying Awareness Month Resources
School Bullying
Stopbullying.gov

Dating Violence

Dating Violence - Dating violence training for educators.

Electronic Aggression

Podcast 

Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual Assault Prevention

Sex Trafficking

Human Trafficking Awareness Training
Recognizing the Signs of Human Trafficking
Understanding Sex Trafficking

Suicide

Suicide Prevention Resource Center - free online training
Youth Suicide Prevention Program

See my posts on youth violence awareness.

Youth Violence Chat: Cyberbullying 









Resources and Activities for Youth: Youth Violence Awareness 



Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lessons Learned from the Evidence Based School Counselor Conference

Sunday, March 6, 2016
This year I attended the Evidence Based School Counseling Conference and it was truly inspiring.  To connect with school counselor practitioners and school counselor educators for three whole days made me think about how we should continuously improve our profession.  On the way home from the conference, my head was swimming with all the things I learned, the great people I met, and how I would apply my new knowledge.  To sort out all my thoughts, I decided to post my reflections about the conference.



Lessons Learned

The majority of school counselors are not trained in supervision

According to Coogan and Kozak, the reasons may vary why school counselors lack supervision training. Some of these reasons include:
  • PSCs do not think they need supervision (this may be due to prior unsatisfactory/ineffective supervision experience);
  • PSCs may be unwilling to serve in a supervisory role;
  • Lack of supervision training in the masters program makes access to quality supervision difficult;
  • PSCs are conflicted with their professional identity (counselor/school counselor/educator).
For school counselors looking for supervision models, here are two that are specially designed for school counselors:
1. School Counseling Supervision Model (Luke & Bernard, 2006). PSCs can contact Syracuse University to inquire about this model.

2. Structured Peer Consultation Model for School Counselors (Benshoff & Paisley, 1996).
Looking for direction on supervision training as a school counselors, contact Gwinnett County Schools (Georgia) School Counseling director, Dianne Thompson.
Professional School Counselor consultation is imperative  
According to Jeff Morgan, Program Director UNC @ Pembroke, not all PSCs provide consultation.  Since 2001, many school counseling programs have moved away from teaching consultation to students. Also, there are many different thoughts on consultation which can be confusing to counselor educators and counselors.   So what are the benefits in consulting?
  • Face to face consultation is useful in directly promoting positive mental health among teachers/students.
  • Consultation can address teacher emotions, micro-behaviors, or stereotypes that impede delivery of instruction.
  • Consultation is a direct path to change.
  • Consultation is an integral component of leadership.
  • Consultation increases cultural competence.
  • Can directly and indirectly impact family-school-community connections.
According to Dr. Morgan, collaboration should not be eclectic but should be based on theory (e.g. developmental theory).  Another tip is that collaboration should be evaluated to inform the school counselor of its effectiveness or ineffectiveness.
Motivational Interviewing can work well with resistant 
students
Dr. Rice from Georgia State University presented on working with resistant students using Motivational Interviewing process. Motivational Interviewing is a cognitive based model which borrows from Carl Rogers, Cognitive Dissonance Theory, Self Perception Theory and is consistent with Strength Based Practices. Paired with the consultation model, it is effective with parents/teachers who are resistance (even over the phone). This technique works well with breaking barriers by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Although Motivational Interviewing is researched based, there is little research in schools at this time.  

Check data trends of your school to see if you are making a
difference
From our school data, ask yourself:
1. Am I standing up for kids?
2. How do I change systems of exclusion?
3. How are we preparing students to survive when they leave school?
According to Dr. Bailey and Dr. McMahon of the University of Georgia, PSCs should be preparing kids for what's to come and remember that our way of helping may not be helpful for all kids.
Social Emotional Learning is every bit as critical to students'
success as academic content
Dr. Christopher Sink gave five strategies on how to increase social emotional accountability in students.  These strategies include:
1. Social Emotional Learning must become part of the school counselor's focus.  This is important as students face increasing stressors, school violence, mental health issues, and marginalization in schools.
2.  School counselors can build connections between the ASCA Mindsets and SEL by collecting data.
3.  School counselors should lead by example and promote SEL (civility, tolerance, empathy, and openness to feedback).
4.  School counselors can advocate for SEL by team teaching, becoming active in state associations, and supporting SEL legislation.
5.  School counselors should assist colleagues with developing and assessing SEL skills and train others to be SEL mentors.
Want to know more about Social Emotional Learning?  Check out Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
The best school counselors don't stay stagnate in their roles
According to Dr. Trish Hatch, school counselors should not be content and must step out into leadership roles.  Dr. Hatch said that graduates from her program at San Diego State University are encouraged to take active leadership roles in their state organizations, become leaders in their districts, and continue their education. 
Other lessons learned...
1.  I need to continue my education to keep up with the school counseling graduates!!
2.  School counselor educators want to partner with us as practitioners. In fact, Dr. Erin Mason called a bunch of us school counselors over and offered to present with us!!
3.  Dr. Mason encouraged us to have an innovator's mindset. Innovative practice means we are free to fail and we should continue trying until we find something that works...failure is a step in progress.

 Next Year's Conference

Interested in attending this conference?  Think about coming to the conference next year! Here are some of the things you can look forward to...
During the conference, there was a meeting to discuss next year's conference in San Diego.  Here are
San Diego
some of the suggestions the participants made to the conference team.
The conference should have a session on how to  present at EBSCC for newbies.
Work with state directors to find schools that are doing excellent work in their state and showcase that work. 
Include a course in site supervision for PSCs.
Have more specialized sessions, showcase practical examples, and follow with pairing and partnering.
Have courses on how to help school counselors with what to do with the data.
Practice Informed Research – inform counselor educators of what we are doing in the field so they can take back to their students.
Help school administrators understand the work of the school counselor. Some school counselors feel confined in the field that they cannot do anything unless it is approved by their administrator.
Include career interventions research in the field of school counseling.
This year the number of school counselor educators presenting was greater than the number of school counselors. The idea is to ask the host to identify people (PSC) to present by creating a safe space for them.
Include more marketing to administrators and add what is in it for me as a PSC. 
Increase attendance by asking Advisory Council Members to recruit in their region (e.g. former students).
Learn more...
Join Dr. Erin Mason and Lauren Ross' Twitter Chat on #EBSCC on March 8th.
Check out past conference presentations